Irish trio in the red in Austria

Gareth Shaw finished well in Austria. Picture: Stuart Adams

Challenge Tour trio Gareth Shaw, Ruaidhri McGee and Niall Kearney got off to sub-60 starts in the Challenge Tour's Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda.

As English pair Max Orrin and Tom Murray posted seven under 64s to match early pacesetter Pontus Widegren, Shaw played his last 12 holes in four under to shoot a three under 68 that left him tied for 31st with Derry man McGee.

Kearney, meanwhile, continued his run of good form with a two under 69 that was just good enough to leave him a shot inside the top 60 on a day of low scoring at Golfclub Schloss Finkenstein near Villach in Austria.

But while Birr's Stephen Grant has a mountain to climb after a five over 76, he at least showed he still has a sence of humour, tweeting this about his dinner.

As for early starter Widegren, his lunch almost certainly tasted wonderful as he had eight birdies and a single bogey to set the target before Murray and Orrin matched the Swede’s score in the afternoon.

One stroke adrift of the leading threesome is French duo Adrien Bernadet and Jérôme Lando Casanova, as well as Germany’s Florian Fritsch and England’s Paul Maddy.

Seven players lie a further shot back on five under par, in a group that includes former European Tour regular Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, who lost his card last year and is back on the Challenge Tour looking to find his best form.

Shaw birdied his third hole of the day but bogeyed the next two, the 13th and 14th, to find himself struggling on one over.

But he hit back with birdies at the 16th and 18th to turn in 34 and matched that on the front nine with birdies at the second and seventh.

McGee was three under after six and flying but bogeyed the eighth and 11th before followign an eagle three at the 12th with a bogey at the 13th and a birdie at the next.

As for Kearney, he was four under through 10 holes thanks to birdies at the second, third, ninth and 10th.

But he bogeyed the 11th and 13th and then followed a birdie two at the 15th with a closing bogey to end the day tied for 39th.

Scores after round one:

64 P Widegren (Swe), T Murray (Eng), M Orrin (Eng),

65 F Fritsch (Ger), P Maddy (Eng), A Bernadet (Fra), J Lando Casanova (Fra),

66 H Bacher (Aut), S Arnold (Aus), D Law (Sco), J Robinson (Eng), J Gonnet (Fra), L Corfield (Eng), G Woolgar (Eng),

67 A Korinek (Cze), F Praegant (Aut), J Fahrbring (Swe), D Coupland (Eng), J Barnes (Eng), D Stewart (Sco), E Espana (Fra), D Vancsik (Arg), G Lockerbie (Eng), B An (Kor), A Johnston (Eng), S Garcia Rodriguez (Esp), J Roos (RSA), L Nemecz (Aut), J Winther (Den), R Steiner (Aut),

68 G Shaw (Nir), J Lara (Esp), M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra), R McGee (Irl), D Gaunt (Eng), J Rask (Swe), C Lloyd (Eng), B Virto (Esp),

69 D Geminiani (Ita), M Lampert (Ger), J Garcia Del Moral (Esp), M Trappel (Aut), A Engell (Nor), C Paisley (Eng), O Wilson (Eng), F Bergamaschi (Ita), H Joannes (Bel), M Wiegele (Aut), G Main (USA), J Mikkelsen (Nor), C Bouniol (Fra), D Kemmer (USA), L Gagli (Ita), G Pinto (Por), W Booth (Sco), N Kearney (Irl), C Mivis (Bel), C Russo (Fra),

70 D Ulrich (Sui), O Floren (Swe), O Stark (Swe), J Howarth (Eng), S Henry (Sco), M Dobias (Sui), G Cambis (Fra), B Hebert (Fra), M Rominger (Sui), R McEvoy (Eng), T Lee (USA), N Kimsey (Eng), B Parker (Eng), D Frittelli (RSA)

71 B Evans (Eng), H Sayin (Tur), J Lagergren (Swe), M Haastrup (Den), N Ravano (Ita), M Lafeber (Ned), P Dwyer (Eng), S Little (Eng), F Colombo (Ita), N Quintarelli (Ita), A Rota (Ita), L Goddard (Eng), P Oriol (Esp), A Tadini (Ita), M Tullo (Chi), L Jensen (Den), W Besseling (Ned), C Aguilar (Esp), F Svanberg (Sui), R Enoch (Wal), M Glauert (Ger), B Chapellan (Fra), J Bragulat (Esp), C Fisher (am) (Aut),

72 S Tiley (Eng), T Linard (Fra), A Snobeck (Fra), S Hutsby (Eng), Z Scotland (Eng), R Gruber (Aut), X Ruiz Fonhof (Ned), C Brazillier (Fra), J Elson (Eng), J Legarrea (Esp), E Johansen (Nor), N Raymond (Eng), M Southgate (Eng), J Palmer (Eng), E Bertheussen (Nor), G Porteous (Eng), R Coles (Eng), M Novy (Cze), P Oswald (am) (Aut),

73 T Sluiter (Ned), N Johansson (Swe), B Åkesson (Swe), J Maurer (Aut), C Hanson (Eng), P McKechnie (Sco), N Thommen (Sui), P Relecom (Bel), J Huldahl (Den), K Samooja (Fin) 

74 G Watremez (Bel), A Björk (Swe), D Perrier (Fra), T Pulkkanen (Fin), N Meitinger (Ger), A Haindl (RSA), M Haines (Eng), D Moretti (am) (Aut), P Hermann (am) (Aut),

75 R Davies (Wal), F Mruzek (Cze), C Ford (Eng), W Huang (Chn), K Benz (Sui),

76 B Ritthammer (Ger), R Kind (Ned), S Grant (Irl), S Matus (Cze), J Gallegos (Esp), R Hahn (Hun), F Becker (Ger), J Sjöholm (Swe), O Spur (Cze),

77 J Kennegard (Swe), A Perrino (Ita),

78 M Stewart (Sco), S Piaget (Mon),

79 B Guerrero (Esp), U Weinhandl (Aut),

88 T Brennacher (am) (Aut),

** M Hensby (Aus).